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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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July 2010 - January 2013
Artist Of The Week - My Brother’s Keeper
Monday, February 08, 2010

This feature is a momentous one. It’s the 200th Artist Of The Week here at Adam’s World. For such a milestone I wanted to get an artist who’s been down from the start. I actually managed to do one better than that - I found multiple artists who’ve been down from the start in My Brother’s Keeper. My Brother’s Keeper consists of (from L to R) Larry "Scholar" Aruwayo, Terrance "Thinker" Kelly, Dwayne "Tzo" Stewart and Levar "L-Star" McGibbon. I first met Thinker and Tzo back when I was co-hosting a radio show called In Da Mixx and they came to the studio with longtime B-Lister Conscious. That was at least five years ago, so with my Artist Of The Week feature reaching the milestone of #200, I could think of no one more appropriate to give the honor to than My Brother’s Keeper.

A hip-hop quartet with unparalleled skills on the mic and behind the boards, My Brother’s Keeper headlined as one of the main acts at Bondfire in January at the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC. Their maxi single for “Master Musical Minds” / “Power Up” is available for download, and according to Scholar the group is over three quarters of the way done with a full length album, targeting a mid-summer release for it. L-Star notes the hip-hop scene has been changing as of late, and changing in a way that’s good for My Brother’s Keeper, saying “real people who are themselves are taking over.” It gets no realer than My Brother’s Keeper and this week I caught up with them to find out more about the group, including how they came together, what some of their inspirations are, and the aspects of NYC’s hip-hop scene that they feel don’t get enough recognition.

Adam Bernard: Start everyone off with the basics; how did the My Brother’s Keeper project come together?
Thinker: This was a long time in the making. We have been recording music together since 2001 but this project in particular got jump started by a beat race that Tzo and myself started in late January until late February of ’09, with me being the victor of the race, along with the catalog that Scholar had been cooking up for over two years.
Tzo: Damn you Thinker!!!
Thinker: {laughs} Being the hip-hop fans that we are, with all of these beats compiled, and with us having mutual admiration for each other’s prior works, we were inspired to select a few of our favorites to hopefully make something for the ages.

Adam Bernard: What do you feel each member brings to the group?
Scholar: Thinker is the musical genius. He brings a wide range of musical talent from production, to songwriting, to singing vocals, as well as being an emcee. L-Star, who also is a producer, brings high caliber energetic lyricism with charisma and charm. Tzo brings passion, soul, and truth, with harsh doses of reality. He’s also the nucleus of the group, the general. As for me, I am the enforcer. I bring dark, gritty, staircase rhymes with 90's style boom bap production.

Adam Bernard: I know there’s some crossover in membership between My Brother’s Keeper and Black Horde, but do you treat them as totally separate entities?
L-Star: We are two different entities. Tzo and I are part of Black Horde.
Tzo: The co-founders of the Black Horde to be exact. My Brothers Keeper is a totally new affiliation.

Adam Benard: Musically, are there differences between what you do with Black Horde and what you do with My Brother’s Keeper? If so, how would you characterize those differences?
L-Star: Musically Black Horde has a more aggressive approach than My Brother’s Keeper.
Tzo: Yeah, Black Horde’s content is a bit grittier.

Adam Bernard: OK, so tell me a little more about the music of My Brother’s Keeper. What are some of the inspirations you’re harnessing for this?
Thinker: A need for good music.
Tzo: Yeah, I really believe people have been downloading singles these days because they can't find a good album they can listen to all the way through. I can't remember the last time I heard an album I could listen to all the way through.
Thinker: And some people are only releasing singles because they can't make a real album.
Scholar: The music that I hear I AM NOT HAPPY WITH, so I figured that I'd make my own.

Adam Bernard: So what are people in store for from you musically?
Scholar: I think people are in store for some good music straight from the soul.
Thinker: Music from the soul, for the soul.

Adam Bernard: Talk to me about the name of the group. Obviously, there’s the line from New Jack City, but I’m guessing since you’re all significantly deeper than Lil’ Wayne there’s something more to it.
Tzo: Well, really we are here to make music for the people and we think they need something of substance that they can appreciate.
L-Star: It's not like Lil Wayne doesn't have any lyrics for the people {laughs}, but we have a different agenda.
Scholar: We were brothers before the music and the music keeps us together.
Tzo: And has brought us closer together.
Thinker: My Brother’s Keeper is formula of building a community and keeping a community together.
Tzo: And that means our sisters, too.

Adam Bernard: You are all veterans of NYC’s hip-hop scene. How has being a part of that scene affected your views on hip-hop and artistry in general?
Scholar: There’s a lot more unity in New York City than it’s given credit for, at least as far as the independent scene is concerned.
Tzo: And there’s a lot more talent in the independent scene than it’s given credit for. It’s just that it's saturated and sometimes it’s hard to filter out the real talent from the mediocre.

Adam Bernard: Finally, in all your years in the scene, what’s the nicest thing you’ve seen one artist do for another?
Tzo: Conscious has booked me for numerous shows just because he saw the potential in me.
L-Star: And when he gave Tzo shows he involved the entire crew if he could.
Tzo: I thank him all the time, but I want to thank him again.

Related Links

Bandcamp: mybrotherskeeper.bandcamp.com
Twitter: twitter.com/mybrotherskeeper
Facebook: facebook.com/pages/My-Brothers-Keeper
Blog: mybrotherskeepr.blogspot.com

Labels:

posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:30 AM  
2 Comments:
  • At 11:48 AM, Blogger psychmajor said…

    I think this was a very informative and "cerebral" conversation. My brother's keeper has truly been honing their individual talents for quite some time. It is great to see them get the recognition they are so deserving of. Not only are these brothers talented, creative and positive beings, but they are connected to a very strong sense of spirituality. There is nothing typical about these brothers, which is why, I am a fan and a friend. I truly believe these brothers can take it all the way, and with this kind of exposure, one day they shall!!!!!
    much love M.B.K, and cheers to you Adam for the blog...peace Que'Ran

     
  • At 11:38 AM, Blogger Admin said…

    I'm two years late! But great just the same. Good interview.

     
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